'The Secret Life of Suitcases' teacher resources

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These are resources are to accompany the production of The Secret Life of Suitcases, running at the Unicorn from 18 Sep - 12 Oct 2014. For pupils in school years 1 - 3.

Transcript of 'The Secret Life of Suitcases' teacher resources

  • TEACHER RESOURCE PACK

    THE SECRET LIFE OF SUITCASESFOR TEACHERS WORKING WITH PUPILS IN YEAR 1 3

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    THE SECRET LIFE OF SUITCASESRUNNING FROM 18 SEP - 12 OCT 2014

    LARRYS GOT NO TIME FOR FUN, BUT THATS ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE...

    Larry works in an office and he likes it very much. He likes sorting and tidying and generally putting things in order. Everything in its place, a place for everything.

    But one day, a suitcase suddenly appears at his door. And this suitcase has a mission...

    Production photo: Anne Binckebank

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    CONTENTSCONTEXTINTRODUCTION TO THE PACK AND THE PLAY 4MAKING THE PLAY: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CREATORS 5

    CLASSROOM ACTIVITIESSESSION ONE 9This session allows children to engage with the themes of the play by exploring their own understandingand experience of what people like about routines and the familiar. It includes: games that prepare the children to work together in drama, freeze frames and light role-play.

    SESSION TWO 12This session allows the children to explore the character of Larry and his moment of decision: whether to go back to the familiar world of his office or take the first step on an adventure into the unknown. It includes: a drama game to help the children work together, a Story Whoosh, individual work in-role as Larry at the moment of decision; freeze frames and group scene making.

    SESSION THREE 15A post-show session that explores the Quarks in the play and their job of delivering suitcases to places and people that need them. It includes, a physical group warm-up game, group image making, teacher and pupilin-role work and making a Quark puppet.

    RESOURCESSTORY WHOOSH SCRIPT 18THE SECRET LIFE OF SUITCASES WEBSITE 19With downloadable templates for making a suitcase and a Quark.

    THE SECRET LIFE OF SUITCASES

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    INTRODUCTION TO THE PACK AND THE PLAYWelcome to the teacher resources for The Secret Life of Suitcases for children in years 1 to 3.

    The Secret Life of Suitcases is the charming story of Larry; a man who is so busy with his work, and so concerned with getting it all right, that he forgets to look up and around him and see what else life has to offer.

    Larry works in an office and he likes it very much. He likes sorting and tidying and generally putting things in order. But one day, a suitcase appears at his door and it has a mission... Larry follows the magical flying suitcase which takes him outdoors to the park, and then on to an adventure further afield in space, where he meets Quarks who have a very important job in the universe.

    The activities provided can be used before or after your visit and use drama, storytelling, and writing as ways of exploring themes and events that are relevant to the play. They do not take an objective led approach; however, teachers will be able to establish links to the relevant curriculum objectives for their particular year group and can adapt them for their particular educational setting.

    The classroom activities in this pack will enable children to make, become and create stories using simple puppets and imagine the journeys they would most like to go on if they were sent a magical suitcase.

    There will be opportunities for teachers to link the activities across the curriculum with particular relevance to reading, writing, spoken word, art and design and technology. For the adventurous, you could

    CONTEXTTHE SECRET LIFE OF SUITCASES

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    MAKING THE PLAYAN INTERVIEW WITH THE CREATIVE TEAM: DIRECTOR LEWIS HETHERINGTON AND MAKER AND PUPPETEER AILIE COHENSCan you tell us what The Secret Life of Suitcases is about?

    Lewis: Its about a man who is so obsessed with getting everything right and getting everything ordered, just living his life as properly as he can, that actually, he is missing out on life; he is missing out on the very ordinary but extraordinary things that are going on around him as he is buried in his own routine.

    Ailie: He cant let anything else in, hes so busy with his own thing, his own way of doing things that he just cant look up to see whats happening.

    Where did the original idea come from?

    It started with suitcases, the things themselves and we decided they were interesting enough to base a show on.

    When Ailie first suggested we make a show about suitcases I was excited; as a container for stories they give you a little clue for the outside. Its like book covers, potentially theres a whole microcosm of a life in there, what can you glean about a person, what they need, or want or feel and theres the lovely reveal when you open the case.

    Quite early on we thought about the idea of work, I dont know how we came about that, but we had those two things about work and suitcases. Because suitcases represent holidays, the counterpoint, the opposite, of that is work. So we had that duality; work and play, home and away.

    We came up with Larry and another character early on and we knew the suitcase was going to fly and there was a station, there was a left luggage, a lost property station.

    Why did you want the suitcase to fly?

    There is something about it being magical. Suitcases are about transportation and they take you places. We had this image of Larry being taken somewhere in a flying suitcase and that image stayed with us.

    How did you develop the piece after those initial ideas?

    We went into nurseries and primary schools; we spent two weeks with a suitcase and tubes and with mock ups of puppets.

    We hid loads of paper suitcases around the room; we dont know how they didnt notice them! Inside each one was a jigsaw of where that suitcase had been, so they had to piece together the jigsaw to discover where it had been. The children had to decide where they would like to go on an adventure and then draw what they would need to take with them inside the suitcase. We wanted to find out what places were meaningful; so we asked them if we were to go on an adventure, what sprung to their minds as an exciting place. The beach was very popular.

    THE SECRET LIFE OF SUITCASES CONTEXT

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    We had this idea about work and play and we wanted to know whether it was just an adult concept, or was it meaningful to a child? The workshop reassured us that children do get that notion of work and business, but obviously in a different way. It helped us start to formulate our ideas about Larrys office and having tasks to do was something they related to. Their responses kept us on track because it was very easy for us to think as an adult about an office.

    After the school workshops, we abandoned the second character (Harry) and just stuck with Larry. We realised the play was just about him and it was the suitcase that was trying to change his life rather than a human puppet character. Harry was mischievous and playful and said hey look, lets go and do crazy things in the outside world. And actually its the suitcase that we wanted to do that. We realised that in 45 minutes its better to follow one character; it felt nice to hone in on Larry and spend the time with him.

    Harry may get his own show one day; hes got that jumper that Ailie knitted him, a little tiny jumper out of copper wire.

    After the two development weeks we brought Rick, the second puppeteer, into the process. We had a wealth of stuff and we needed to start stripping it down by asking: What are the ideas we really want and how do we and push those? We always knew that Larry was a man who was obsessed by order; a suitcase was going to arrive and take him on a journey and bring him home again. We knew that it would be a story about the thrill of adventure and the joy of coming home again. We had the very broad skeleton to go into the devising process with and then we had to find out the detail and the colour, how Larry felt about going and why hes going and the various stages of the journey. We had chunks of time between that so that Ailie could build the puppets.

    How did you create Larry, the character and the puppet?

    Initially it was a case of doing some sketches and drawings and then cutting him out in cardboard and being able to see him half a line, just on the page as a drawing. We liked Larry, because he was tall and we knew he would work well as a puppet so we concentrated on making him.

    The process of making him took around three weeks and that was from experimenting with different sized heads to get exactly the right scale. I mocked him up just using doweling and brought him into the rehearsal room for two weeks to see if he was the right size and how he was moving and if we liked him. Once wed committed to using that character, I went away and constructed him in a way that he wouldnt fall apart; using a combination of dowelling and leather for the joints, air-drying modelling clay for the feet, harder modelling clay for the head and varnish and some craft fluff for his hair.

    He is built as a mixture between a marionette and a rod puppet in terms of how he is jointed together because we knew we were going to have two people working him, so we could afford to make him flexible.

    The design of Larry and the suitcases has a very strong aesthetic but then youve got the Quarks which seem to come from another world or another show almost.

    Yes they were a discovery in the rehearsal room for us, I originally thought we cant put them in there; they are ridiculous, but they were exactly what we needed, all the brown leather is so beautiful and Larry is so beautiful and people say oh it looks like Romanian stop-motion animation and we thought, thats brilliant, but we want to undercut that. It feels like we were nodding towards an aesthetic that you see a lot in childrens theatre; the old and nice vintage things. So we were e